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dents involving people in small dinghies and tenders.


In some


cases, simple precautions would have reduced the risk to those using these types of craft. Some of these precautions are obvious and include the wearing of life jackets and use of navigation lights at night, others are less obvious and include;


The latest news, keeping residents and harbour users up to date.


• Tying up the tender before


stepping ashore – this will reduce the chance of falling into the water and at least give anyone missing the step a chance to hold onto the vessel or mooring line. Furthermore, the presence of a low free- board tender or dinghy could assist those trying to climb out or help in recovery.


Capt. Mark Cooper Safety on the river Dart


Our analysis of safety-related incidents in 2018 continues to reflect the trends identified in 2017. Speeding continues to be an issue, but it has also been noted that the ongoing educa- tion of river users on the impact of their wake, their impact on the safety of other river users and potential damage to the environment and other vessels has had a positive impact on the number of reported incidences.


Other than weather-related incidents, the largest risk to river users continues to be from the use of tenders and dinghies. This risk increases significant- ly during colder and quieter periods, and in the hours of darkness.


The reduction in water taxi


prices and the increase in capac- ity to reduce waiting times has generated a 37% increase in taxi journeys (based on taxi engine hours). Whilst this improves safety there continue to be inci-


• Letting someone know where you are and expected time of return if you are going to be out by yourself in bad weather or in hours of dark- ness when there are fewer people around.


• Knowledge of ladders and


areas that will make climb- ing out easier which are in the vicinity of your landing / berthing position. Dart Harbour pon- toons all have ladders but there may be more obvious ways of climbing out involv- ing the use of slip- ways, hard mud, and foreshore, presence of other low freeboard vessels or vessels that have accessible boarding arrange- ments (ladders and swim platforms). Anyone who has at- tempted to climb out even onto a 6-inch freeboard pontoon will know the chal- lenge and reports indicate that only a small percentage of


people can do this on the first attempt or have the fitness required to make numerous attempts – hence the need to wear a lifejacket. Please take time to check the position of fixed ladders and familiarize yourself with the use of rescue (moveable) ladders on the pontoons that you use.


If in


doubt contact the Authority. More serious incidents over


winter have resulted in in- creased calls to the harbour authority to check small vessels that have been found aban- doned or adrift in the river. In most cases, a river officer, assistant or even the person re- porting the unusual finding has been able to use a Dart Harbour sticker number to identify the owner and ensure their safety.


Please ensure that tenders and dinghies are well secured and that you have a Dart Harbour sticker displayed in your vessel. If the vessel adrift or on the mud has no sticker then there is little option but to call the coast- guard /police and this could result in the waste of resource and risk to additional lives in


YOUR LIFE IS PRECIOUS Always wear your lifejacket


USELESS UNLESS WORN


Find out more at RNLI.org/Sailing


The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea


Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Registered charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland


Photo: Shutterstock.com


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